SundayReads_Nairobi

Sunday Reads: The Buff Men Escaping Poverty in Kenya, The Desi Cult of Drake and a History of the Puffy Toilet Seat

Everything you missed from the Week That Was

It’s Day 4 of an extremely long Independence Day weekend, and if four straight days of beating up on your liver (like what I’ve been doing) isn’t reason enough to believe the Fourth is problematic, then you haven’t yet read Miles Klee’s take on why the imperialist, racist and even (literally) cancerous holiday should perhaps just go away completely.

Who am I kidding? Pass me another hot dog.

Must Read

For Young Men in the Slums of Nairobi, Getting Buff is One of the Few Paths Out of Poverty”
For young men in Kenya unable to afford higher education, there is one promising way to gain employment: Get buff. In a country where crime is rampant and youth unemployment sits at 26 percent, there’s high demand for private security, both at home and abroad, but if you want to get those jobs, you need to look as tough and strong as possible. The work is dangerous, the hours are long and, for those working off the books, the training is minimal, but since other options are scarce, it’s a rare lifeline for many. Read More

The Week in Features

Is Phenibut the Future?

Prescribed for everything in Russia — from anxiety and alcohol withdrawal to low libido — phenibut is merely the latest legal (yet largely unregulated) “smart drug” to replace coffee and adderall in the U.S. as the workaholic’s pick-me-up of choice. Many report the substance has changed their lives, improving their job performance, marriages, and overall happiness. But despite these alleged success stories, there are many dangers to phenibut that the companies selling it aren’t too clear about.

A History of the All-Inclusive Resort

Sometimes when you vacation, instead of seeing new sights and taking in culture, you just want to blackout on a beach somewhere. In fact, you don’t even want to have to take your wallet out — this is where the all-inclusive resort comes in. Once considered a niche vacation option, all-inclusives have become a serious player on the travel field. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to consider before booking that all-you-can-eat-and-drink holiday. 

Desi Guys & the Cult of Drake

Tons of guys want to be Drake. But there is perhaps no demographic who so broadly and brazenly desires to emulate the Toronto rapper more than young South Asian men, from how they dress, to putting his lyrics on their social media profiles, to their attitudes towards money and women. For many Desi guys, Drake is the ultimate “nice guy” who’s in touch with his feelings, but still gets to act like the bad boy.

TikTok Is For The Teens

TikTok has proved itself to be a culture-creator worthy of serious consideration — look no further than the meteoric rise of Lil Nas X. But the key things that have made the short-form video platform such a huge success are both its popularity with teens, and its associated lack of adult supervision. With Tumblr basically dead, many LGBTQ teens in particular are turning to TikTok to express themselves without fear of authority.

Why So Puffy?

Toilet seats are hard because plastic is easy to clean, and honestly, you only need to sit there as long as you have to. But at some point, someone got the grand idea that a toilet seat ought to be comfortable above all else, which is why we ended up with puffy and shag toilet seats. It’s weirdly difficult to pinpoint how these things were created, probably because nobody wants to ’fess up to being responsible for them. Still, Brian VanHooker did his best to document the history of one of the 20th century’s most unnecessary and unsanitary products.

Finally, Classical Music For A Guy Like You

Classical music: Does it slap? If your answer is “no,” you’re probably just not listening to it right. In fact, whether you’re into metal, psychedelia, EDM or just about anything else, Chris Bourn is pretty sure he can find something that suits your tastes. Because tricking yourself into liking classical music is a great way to appear like a well-rounded, culturally literate individual.

MEL At The Movies

  • Spiderman: Far From Home is just a so-so contribution to the Marvel franchise, buckling under the weight of the too-recent Avengers: Endgame. It’s a problem Marvel won’t be able to escape over the next few years.
  • Yesterday, the new Danny Boyle flick about what would happen if everyone forgot about the Beatles except for one middling singer-songwriter, offers serious interrogation of imposter syndrome. Unfortunately, it’s been done better
  • The Shaft franchise has been recycled quite a few times now, most recently with Samuel L. Jackson bringing back the character (well, technically his nephew/son, John Shaft II). But who is Shaft, really? And how has his many incarnations been carried through pop culture this long?

 

 

But Don’t Just Take Our Word For It